Dealing with hardness


Advice

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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What are some ways to deal with creatures with hardness?

With so many PFS scenarios with Robots, and Animated Objects, it's come up quite a lot.

Any advice?


Hardness = DR, doesn't it?

So, for a lot of things, KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! works really well.

Remember that Hardness =/= Immunity to Energy

Immunity to Energy is a separate quality of Objects entirely, and monsters that have Hardness may or may not have Immunities at all - it's really a case-by-case basis.

If KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! fails, then there's always the good ol' BEAT IT UNTIL IT STOPS MOVING!!! idea.

Admittedly, Hardness is a LOT harder to get through than DR, since "low" Hardness is 8, and Adamantine is 30, so you'll have to have guys with high DPR who can do enough damage to get through the Hardness of the enemies you're facing fast enough that you're not murder-killed before you stop the enemy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hardness does not function like DR.

It's one of the reason it's such a pain in the butt.

Also, energy attacks deal half damage, unless the DM says otherwise.

This makes it very hard for low level PCs to deal with.


Hardness =/= DR

The two are similar although Hardness typically only applies to non-living objects. DR is primarily for living objects.

As for damaging objects, this also applies:

Pathfinder PRD wrote:
Energy Attacks: Energy attacks deal half damage to most objects. Divide the damage by 2 before applying the object's hardness. Some energy types might be particularly effective against certain objects, subject to GM discretion. For example, fire might do full damage against parchment, cloth, and other objects that burn easily. Sonic might do full damage against glass and crystal objects.

but there's also this:

Pathfinder PRD wrote:
Vulnerability to Certain Attacks: Certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and may ignore the object's hardness.

Rules lawyering aside, buy adamantine weapons. Seriously, it's practically mandatory for PFS. Adamantine ignores hardness of anything with a lesser hardness value to it so you can go to town hacking and bashing those robots. If you're an archer, use adamantine blanched arrows. A vial of weapon blanch (adamantine) is 100g and coats 10 pieces of ammunition. For caster types, spells and abilities that will either hinder or prohibit the machination from doing anything is your best bet. Slow, Grease, Create Pit, and possibly Glitterdust come to mind.


Tsriel wrote:

Hardness =/= DR

The two are similar although Hardness typically only applies to non-living objects. DR is primarily for living objects.

Obviously, although I probably should have added "effectively" when I said that.

The end result is that DR and Hardness function virtually identically in how damage is calculated. The main difference being that Adamantine overrides ALL Hardness, while DR has specific conditions that need to be met first.

But, yeah, Adamantine is just a good idea to grab anyway - it's hard, it ignores Hardness, and it's awesome regardless.


As a note, adamantine ignores hardness of 20 or below, not all hardness. I think there are skymetals with hardness > 20, but I'm not sure.

EDIT: Just checked, didn't see any. Hardening spell makes that important to note, though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, I know the Stone Fist spell allows you to ignore Hardness of 8, or less, with unarmed strikes.

It's not available as a Potion, sadly.


Massive single attack damage. This is VERY hard to pull off at low levels. Sure, sure, the Raging, Power Attacking, Falchion-wielding Barbarian can lay down some hurt, but he's *generally* topping out at 20 damage, 12 of which gets through. Honestly, the mages are in the best shape, especially Admixture Evoker Wizards. It's a no-brainer to get Spell Specialization as your first feat, since you get a free Spell Focus. You may blow through a few castings of Burning Hands finding their weakness (hint, it's usually not fire), but you'll find it eventually, and in the meantime, you've roasted the rest of the encounter, so the whole party can focus fire on the single bad guy left.

Of course, yeah the Adamantine weapons are kind of required once you've got the cash for them.

Other ways of dealing with them are to go with non-standard attacks. Try to inflict conditions on them via spells (Grease is always a favorite), Combat Maneuvers (Grapple and Trip usually work well), or other ways (tanglefoot bags, etc.). Of course, these are all delaying tactics, so you'll still need a big guy with a 2-hand weapon, or some way of inflicting damage. Oddly enough, Rogues can do well here, as their sneak attack damage may well be enough to override the hardness.


I guess the best way to deal with those pesky robots is solid teamwork.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, I know the Stone Fist spell allows you to ignore Hardness of 8, or less, with unarmed strikes.

It's not available as a Potion, sadly.

No, but it IS available as an Infusion; if you've got an Alchemist in the group, you are good to go, sir.


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Heart of the Metal

Lasts 1 minute per level, targets multiple weapons, costs 100gp to cast.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:

Hardness does not function like DR.

It's one of the reason it's such a pain in the butt.

Also, energy attacks deal half damage, unless the DM says otherwise.

This makes it very hard for low level PCs to deal with.

Robots and other creatures with hardness do NOT take half damage from energy. That is a quality of objects not hardness.

James Jacobs wrote:
Correct; robots aren't objects and thus take full damage from energy attacks. Their hardness reduces damage done by 10 (or whatever), regardless of if it's energy damage or force damage or slashing/piercing/bludgeoning damage or whatever. That's why it's not DR (which doesn't touch energy damage) or energy resistance (which doesn't touch slashing/bludgeoning/piercing damage).

Source

Most robots are vulnerable to electricity so blast them with lightning bolts.
Weapon blanch would not cut it:
PRD wrote:


The blanching gives the weapon the ability to bypass one kind of material-based damage reduction, such as adamantine, cold iron, or silver.

Notice there is no mention of bypassing hardness.

We faced two robots with hardness 10 in

Spoiler:
Iron Gods first book
and it was near TPK second time. In the end, enlarged barbarian hitting REALLY hard and burning hands converted to electricity did the job.

Grand Lodge

Warpriest of Torag: Artifice Blessing. "For 1 minute, whenever this weapon deals damage to constructs or objects, it bypasses hardness and damage reduction." Rinse and repeat.

The Exchange

Hardness works like energy resistance. Energy attacks do not deal half damage (except for animated objects). For robots they deal full, but you need to subtract hardness from that.

Still the reason why I don't like season 6. It discriminates against everyone who isnt a raging, power attacking barbarian.


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Nobody said it? Nobody?

Well, I have to...

If it lasts longer than 4 hours, see a doctor...

That said, I agree with the above. Just do more damage than the hardness and you should be OK. Theoretically, this is expected when the monster gets assigned a CR - a party with an APL at or close to the critter's CR should either be able to dish out enough damage to defeat it anyway (in which case the hardness is little more than having extra HP) or they're expected to have the tools (adamantium, electricity attacks, etc.) to ignore the hardness and defeat the encounter directly.

Yeah, I said "defeat it", not "beat it". Just sayin'...

(frankly, I thought the title was an April Fool's Day prank, but it looks like a serious question so I took a serious shot, but the dirty mind wanders a bit)


Be a Martial Artist Monk, a Steelbreaker Brawler, or take the Dwarf favored class bonus for either class.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

get some durable adamantine arrows they are only 61 GP each. They only break if the creature takes a standard action to break them. They can be bought in lots of 1. You are playing PFS and they have had a love for hardness since season 3

The Exchange

Good point. Probably a good time to set my fighter to use catch off guard and an adamantine durable arrow. I wonder what the gm would say if I tied my adamantine durable arrow to the end of my polearm? Would it work?


You know, we never ever ever want a non roleplayer to see the title of this thread.

Grand Lodge

WagnerSika wrote:


Robots and other creatures with hardness do NOT take half damage from energy. That is a quality of objects not hardness.
James Jacobs wrote:
Correct; robots aren't objects and thus take full damage from energy attacks. Their hardness reduces damage done by 10 (or whatever), regardless of if it's energy damage or force damage or slashing/piercing/bludgeoning damage or whatever. That's why it's not DR (which doesn't touch energy damage) or energy resistance (which doesn't touch slashing/bludgeoning/piercing damage).

This, this, this, a thousand times this. The amount of times I have had to argue with GMs with numerous tables under their belt, including VOs, is surprising to me.

Heart of Metal as detailed above is a great, cost effective way to deal with the times it comes up. Much cheaper than buying an adamantine weapon. If you aren't confident in your ability to hit it hard enough, you can't use that scroll, and you don't do energy damage, then you're probably a rogue or a monk. So I'm sorry but this season hates you, just like last season hated Magi. There are answers, but not great ones. Crit more? Hide, and provide support?

Dark Archive

but there's also this:

Pathfinder PRD wrote:
Vulnerability to Certain Attacks: Certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and may ignore the object's hardness.
Rules lawyering aside, buy adamantine weapons. Seriously, it's practically mandatory for PFS. Adamantine ignores hardness of anything with a lesser hardness value to it so you can go to town hacking and bashing those robots. If you're an archer, use adamantine blanched arrows. A vial of weapon blanch (adamantine) is 100g and coats 10 pieces of ammunition. For caster types, spells and abilities that will either hinder or prohibit the machination from doing anything is your best bet. Slow, Grease, Create Pit, and possibly Glitterdust come to mind.

Weapon blanch does not get past hardness.


DualJay wrote:

As a note, adamantine ignores hardness of 20 or below, not all hardness. I think there are skymetals with hardness > 20, but I'm not sure.

EDIT: Just checked, didn't see any. Hardening spell makes that important to note, though.

Minor nitpick, but adamantine ignores hardness of less than 20, not less than or equal to 20.

So, an adamantine weapon does not ignore the hardness of adamantine armor (hardness 20).


@ Joe Kirner

Ummm...You just said to use weapon blanches, and then said that they don't work against hardness.

But seriously, you can have EVERYONE dog pile the damn robot. Once the bastard is tied up, Coup de Grace that bad boy. All you'll need is a heavy pick and someone with Power Attack. It doesn't even need to be anything special, not Magical, Masterwork, Adamantine, nothing. 2-handing, Power Attack, a positive Str mod, and that sweet, sweet x4 crit mod are all that you'll need. That's AT LEAST 4d6+16 (20 minimum), so 12 through hardness, making a DC 22 fort save or die. Even a first level party can pull this off.


Weapon blanches.


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...I was expecting a very different discussion in this thread.


I know how I deal with hardness, bub.

snikt


If hardness persists for more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical attention.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Just hit really really hard

Scarab Sages

Dubgall wrote:
get some durable adamantine arrows they are only 61 GP each. They only break if the creature takes a standard action to break them. They can be bought in lots of 1. You are playing PFS and they have had a love for hardness since season 3

^^Make sure to use abundant ammunition on the quiver before you start firing.

Sovereign Court

Go unarmed with Pummeling Style.

Go archery with Clustered Shots.


Sonic Damage?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Force damage ignores hardness, yes?

It's not "energy damage".

Good find on that Heart of the Metal spell. Really makes a caster with False Focus worth it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't know of any reason that force damage would ignore hardness.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

What are some ways to deal with creatures with hardness?

With so many PFS scenarios with Robots, and Animated Objects, it's come up quite a lot.

Any advice?

Two Handed Fighter with Vital Strike.

Or spell energy damage which bypasses hardness anyway.


Force is an energy type, yes. Hardness applies to spell damage too Lazar, not sure why you'd say it doesn't.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Crap. Hardness is a pain.

Is there a line for what rules on hardness applies for inanimate objects, but not creatures with hardness?

I mean, is it treated exactly the same, in all ways?

Scarab Sages

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From the Year of the Sky Key QA Blog:

Quote:

How does hardness work for creatures? Does energy damage such as cold deal half damage to creatures with hardness (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 173-174) even before applying the flat numerical reduction?

When a creature with hardness sustains damage, subtract its hardness from the damage dealt. The rules for halving damage, doubling damage, dealing damage with ineffective tools, immunities, and the like only apply to damaging inanimate objects.
(This is apparently a question the Design Team has received a few times during the development of Iron Gods, so they were ready to go with an answer!)

The Exchange

Robots have high bab and have high str. Not so easy to grapple. Also, clustered shots does nothing with regard to hardness.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ah. So, the half energy damage rule, doesn't apply to creatures with hardness.

Sovereign Court

Galahad pointed this out, but it warrants saying again: adamantine weapon blanches don't bypass hardness. They only bypass DR/adamantine.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:
Force is an energy type, yes. Hardness applies to spell damage too Lazar, not sure why you'd say it doesn't.

It doesn't when the hardness is a property of a creature, or a construct, only objects such as walls. You can zap robots quite nicely with electrical damage which bypasses their hardness totally.


LazarX wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Force is an energy type, yes. Hardness applies to spell damage too Lazar, not sure why you'd say it doesn't.
It doesn't when the hardness is a property of a creature, or a construct, only objects such as walls. You can zap robots quite nicely with electrical damage which bypasses their hardness totally.

...Except it doesn't.

You're thinking of the half damage rule, which only applies to objects.

Hardness on creatures is the same as Hardness on objects. It subtracts points from all incoming damage.

There is no special clause to Hardness that makes it not apply to energy damage when it's on a creature.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Magic Missile is not going to help then.


Rynjin: Apparently it is not the same as Hardness on objects. Per the link that Imbicatus provided there are differences.

I was apparently wrong on Weapon Blanches too.


Hardness for creatures does not halve energy damage, but it does still reduce energy damage. If you hit an object with Hardness 8 with a fire spell doing 16 damage, the spell would whiff- halve the damage to 8, Hardness reduces the result by 8, net zero. However, if you hit a construct with hardness with the same spell, skip the first step. Hardness reduces the 16 damage by 8 to 8.

Electricity does not bypass the Hardness of robots, at least not according to the subtype. Robots do have vulnerability to electricity, but that doesn't actually bypass the Hardness (though the result will often more or less equate to that).

So, a robot with Hardness 8, versus a spell that does 16 electric damage: Increase 16 by 50%, it does 24 damage. Reduce by 8. It does 16 damage. But if the spell did 14 damage, it would be increased by 50% to 21, then reduced to 13. Hardness still matters.

At least one robot has other defenses to electricity on top of that too, but it's rare-- I can only name the one off-hand. And I hope you're not hitting many Annihilators in PFS.


kestral287 is 100% correct.

I also wanted to point out that saving throws further complicates this, though. Order of operations makes a world of difference here. You need to know if the Save for half damage comes first or the Hardness comes first. I couldn't find any rule about this in Hardness.

I know the rule exists for energy resistance and saving throws. It stands to reason that it should follow the same lines. I actually just tried to find the rules for this and came up short. Anyone able to link to it or quote it here?


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I do believe it's saves and then energy resistance, and since energy resistance and hardness are analogous, it should process similarly. That said, I don't think there is any hard rule on that.


There should be. This is important.

...dangit. The order of operations must be respected.


Saves ALWAYS come first.

Also, as Joe Kirner pointed out upthread,

Pathfinder PRD wrote wrote:

Vulnerability to Certain Attacks: Certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and may ignore the object's hardness.

so damage that they are vulnerable to DOES bypass hardness. Of course, this may depend on the interpretation of the word "may". I read it as "is allowed to...", rather than "in some cases, it is possible that..."

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